Ancient Monuments

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Moated site of Loweswater Pele

A Scheduled Monument in Buttermere, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5701 / 54°34'12"N

Longitude: -3.3154 / 3°18'55"W

OS Eastings: 315058.132386

OS Northings: 520229.561307

OS Grid: NY150202

Mapcode National: GBR 5H9L.1J

Mapcode Global: WH70B.1DJ9

Entry Name: Moated site of Loweswater Pele

Scheduled Date: 18 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013503

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27660

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Buttermere

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Loweswater with Buttermere

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the site of a medieval moated manor house known as
Loweswater Pele, thought to be the home of Ranulphe de Lindesaye and his wife
who were connected with Loweswater during the mid-12th century. It is situated
on the western shore of Crummock Water on a rounded natural hillock which
forms a peninsula of firm ground jutting into the lake. This peninsula is
defended on the landward side by a system of banks and ditches; the ditches
remain predominantly waterlogged. These earthworks are best preserved at
the southern end where they comprise two ditches, or moats; the inner measures
11.5m wide the outer measures 6m wide. These are separated by an earthen bank
3.5m wide and up to 1.5m high. In addition there is a short length of outer
bank approximately 60m long measuring 6m wide and up to 1.5m wide. The inner
bank and moat continue northwards along the base of the hillock for
approximately 170m with the bank itself gradually reducing in height and width
before fading out altogether. The northern part of the hillock is defended by
marshy ground within which no earthworks can now be seen. The manor house is
thought to have been located on the lake side where there are the rectangular
foundations of a hollow measuring 26m by 12m which has been interpreted as the
cellar of a building. The Ordnance Survey maps, however, locate a `peel' some
120m further west on the opposite side of the hillock where a ruined
farmbuilding considered to be a successor to the earlier structure now stands.
Adjoining this ruin are a number of other ruined structures and terraces cut
into the hillslope which are interpreted as the site of outbuildings
associated with the ruined farm.
All modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling but the ground
beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the
provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical
military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a
significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding
of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples
provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

The moated site of Loweswater Peel is an unusual example of this class of
monument. A natural feature - in this case a low hillock protruding into the
lake - was modified by the cutting of ditches on its landward side, to create
a moated site. The effort required was minimal but the result strikingly
effective. The hillock will contain evidence of the medieval structure known
to have existed here in the 12th century.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Fair, M C, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Loweswater Pele and Parks, , Vol. XXXVI, (1936), 126-8
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
Title: Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 4: The English Lakes NW Area
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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